17 Best Marketing & Advertising Agencies in Korea
Marketing in South Korea can be challenging for international companies who are unfamiliar with the local language and culture. Advertisers need to be aware that Korea is very invested in culture marketing. To succeed in the Korean market, brands need to thoroughly research consumer behavior, culture, and the latest marketing trends.
Changes in Korean Consumer Behavior
Korean consumers are digital savvy, with over 85% of the population owning a smartphone. E-commerce markets are rapidly growing since more than 80% of Korean citizens are active online shoppers.
South Korea’s digital ecosystem is unique because a large part of it is isolated. For example, the leading search engine in Korea is not Google, it’s Naver, and the leading messenger app is not WhatsApp, it’s Kakao. However, global social media platforms are dominating Korea, including YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
For consumer decision making, influencer testimonials are powerful tools. Korean people love brands with authenticity and trust. Therefore, brands should consider working with social media influencers to create genuine reviews.
Brand preferences in Korea are also shifting, with the younger generation more conscious about environmental issues, so they pay more attention to sustainable brands. For example, the nation’s second-hand market is becoming more popular.
There are numerous marketing companies in Korea that can help you to navigate this new market, so we have listed the 17 best marketing and advertising agencies in South Korea. These agencies are experts in many fields – influencer marketing, SEO, digital billboards, web development, and many more.
1. AJ Marketing
AJ Marketing is the leading marketing agency in South Korea. AJ Marketing provides services in influencer marketing, online advertising, Naver SEO, social media advertising, PR, digital billboards and K-pop celebrity licensing.
Established in 2019, AJ Marketing has partnered with more than 7,000 influencers with the total reach of 1.3 billion followers. Their influencer network ranges from various sectors in multiple platforms – Youtube, Instagram and TikTok.
AJ Marketing’s strength is its network in Asia-Pacific. Agency is headquartered in Singapore with a local office in South Korea, alongside with other countries across APAC: Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
AJ Marketing have worked with brands such as BMW (MINI), Bytedance (TikTok), AMD, Alibaba Group and many more. AJ Marketing partnered with Byte Dance, the company behind the social media app TikTok. AJ Marketing and TikTok launched a social media campaign with a goal to promote new TikTok features. This campaign included influencers of various categories: lifestyle, music, beauty, gaming, travel and more. Campaign reached 30 million people and accelerated TikTok’s transition from content platform to e-commerce platform.
2. InterCultural Communications
Focusing on cross-cultural digital marketing, InterCultural Communications (ICC) does website development – including search engine optimization (SEO) – social media marketing (SMM) & search engine marketing (SEM) ad campaigns.
ICC’s clients — including leading law firms like Puruem Law Office — are typically foreign companies seeking to outsource their Korean marketing strategy or Korean companies seeking to target foreign markets and/or foreigners living in Korea – aka cross-cultural marketing.
Unlike AJ Marketing and some of the other companies on this list, they specialize in building a digital ecosystem that converts to leads for clients. By incorporating social media marketing (or SNS as Koreans like to call it) and search engine marketing with a high-converting website, they grow and maintain a steady stream of leads for their clients.
ICC prides itself both on having multilingual and multicultural team members as well as helping growing small businesses into medium and large businesses. Small businesses or local branch offices that cannot afford to hire professional digital marketing experts to run their local websites, social media and digital ad campaigns outsource these important tasks to their expert team of multilingual professionals.
3. SM Culture and Contents
SM Culture and Contents is known as one of Asia’s largest entertainment groups. In December 2017, SM expanded their business as an advertising agency. SM Culture and Contents focuses on providing advertising services through celebrity partnerships.
Their talent agency enables them to manage top Korean celebrities including singers, actors, comedians, and TV personalities. With more than 30 million people in their database, SM C&C will find solutions for brands and their customers. They also provide creative broadcasting content production, media buying services, PR & brand events, and interactive communication distribution.
SM C&C has created many award-winning campaigns with brands such as A Pharmaceuticals, Dunkin Donuts, Kakao Bank and many more. In 2021, SM C&C created an OTT campaign for WAVE, a local Korean alternative for Netflix. The campaign “Was in the Wave” featured popular Korean singer IU. The video production was created to show various contents that customers can find in WAVE.
Adqua Interactive is a creative advertising production agency in Korea. Their services are mainly digitally focused. They produce video content and social communications. Adqua also provides offline advertising services such as TV, radio, print, promotion, and OOH.
Adqua has worked with many popular brands such as Olive Young, Pizza Hut, and Nivea. For example, Adqua created three videos for Tinder Korea’s “There Is No Wrong Choice” campaign.
6. Chai Communication
Chai Communication is a creative advertising agency based in Korea. They provide services in social marketing, search marketing, creative production, mobile marketing and ATL campaigns. The company also has a large data intelligence platform based on CHAI Mar-tech and Ad-Technology.
Chai’s clients include KB Kookmin Bank, Netmarble, and SSG.Com. In 2021, the firm created a campaign for KB Kookmin Bank, one of the largest banks in South Korea. The campaign “Hallin” was launched to promote KB Insurance Direct and featured trending girl group Brave Girls and reached more than 400,000 views in 1 week.
7. Focus Media Korea
Focus Media Korea is a digital billboard company. They provide advertising platforms with smart screens and digital billboards in thousands of locations in Korea – including premium office building elevators and premium apartments. They have worked with LG U+ and Woori Private Equity to deliver the best digital billboard for their clients.
Incross is an ad tech agency in Korea that provides digital marketing solutions and an advertising platform. Their digital advertising services include mobile advertising, IPTV advertising, online advertising, and digital OOH advertising.
Incross’s display ad network is called “Dawin”. Dawin has coverage in Naver, GomTV, AfreecaTV, and other leading Korean digital sites. Their display network helps brands to distribute video and banner advertising, including user tracking and retargeting.
9. DDB Korea
DDB Korea is a full service marketing agency from DDB global group. They are driven to deliver the best advertising services to their clients driven by localization and digitalization.
DDB provides services in advertising, design, SEO, SEM, email marketing, mobile and online video advertising, web & micro-site development.
Established in 1991, DDB Korea has won multiple awards. Including Silver Agency of The Year by Campaign Asia for 3 consecutive years. Their clients are LG, AXA, Henkel, and many more.
TRADINGWORKS is an integrated advertising platform for South Korea.
TRADINGWORKS platform uses big data to segment audiences based on user behavior, interest, age, gender, preferences, search history and many more data points.
TRADINGWORKS integrates various traffic sources from Korea into one platform. Via their platform you can place ads on Kakao, Google, Facebook, Instagram and thousands of Korean mobile applications. Their main clients include LG, Netmarble, SSG.com, and many more.
VFAR is a creative ad production agency in Korea. They focus on producing films, TV, and digital visual media contents. Their production team are experts in TV advertisements, Music videos, branded contents, streaming productions, and more. They have worked with many popular brands in delivering cutting edge productions, such as Nike and Burberry.
KPR is a leading communications and PR agency in Korea. Founded in 1989, KPR has won more than 50 awards and recognitions. They provide PR services such as brand consulting, digital PR, media PR, and crisis management. Alongside with their PR services, KPR also provides visual content development and digital creative services.
KPR has worked with multiple companies such as Bayer Korea, Razer, and Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture.
KPR launched the 2018 Art and Life event in cooperation with Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture. For this campaign, 99 amateur artists were selected to create creative arts.
13. Keystone Marketing Company
Keystone is a creative advertisement production agency in Korea. This digital marketing company also has local offices in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.
With global outreach, Keystone is driven to give the best end-to-end digital marketing solutions. They help Korean brands to enter the South East Asia market. They have worked with brands such as Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, and Etoos.
In 2018, Keystone partnered with Mercedes-Benz to create a campaign for the new CLS launch. The campaign consisted of a digital film, a microsite, Instagram artist collaboration, and power blogger contents. The campaign was distributed through YouTube, Kakao, SMR, Naver, Facebook, and Instagram.
DiaTV, run by CJ ENM, is an Influencer multi channel network in Korea. Their focus is influencer marketing.They also provide live commerce solutions. Their influencer network covers every sector and social media multiple platforms. They also have DIAPick, which is a platform for advertisers to explore influencers and check their audience data..
DiaTV partnered with more than 1,000 influencer channels that has over 90 billion YouTube views. For example Heizle, a popular Korean YouTuber who is a partner with DiaTV.
15. PN Top
PN Top is a creative agency in Korea. Established in 1998, their expertise is in creative exhibition, streetscape and environmental design, and visual design. They are the leading creative company in this field.
PN Top have worked on numerous projects in delivering the best exhibition and designs. Their latest project was located in Wonju-si, Gangwon-do. They created an experience hall where visitors can experience the Metaverse via VR.
16. The Mavericks
The Mavericks is a marketing agency with a focus on game marketing. They provide full marketing services covering marketing strategy, creative production, viral marketing, PR, and media buying. They are known for their crossover marketing strategy.
The Mavericks have worked with many popular games such as King of Avalon, Cross Eternal, and Aurora Kingdom. In 2017, The Mavericks partnered with the game King of Avalon to create a campaign for boosting sales. The campaign featured a video advertisement. The campaign successfully boosted King of Avalon from Top 50 in Sales to Top 20 in Sales.
Sanghwa is a marketing agency creating immersive experiences. Their expertise is in delivering creative design, AR and VR contents. They also have a R&D center to create the next generation of immersive media.
Sanghwa have worked in numerous projects involving creations of contents, immersive media, IT, and robotics. They have worked with brands such as Samsung, Lotte World, and Hyundai.
Sanghwa partnered with Hyundai to create a digital billboard design for their Hyundai Duty Free. The OOH campaign featured graphic artworks presented in a curved LED screen.
Inquivix is a full-service digital advertising agency in Korea and Asia. That empowers global enterprises and MNCs to convert visitors into customers through vivid result-driven digital marketing solutions. They partner with brands in building long-lasting, insight-driven consumer connections.
Understanding Korean consumer behavior is key when planning local marketing strategy.
Korean consumers are very impacted by the digital transformation. Koreans spend most of their free time online, from shopping to entertainment. They have specific taste for design and are used to local payment solutions and local messenger platforms. Koreans are also very trend driven and like to follow the example set by key opinion leaders.
Creating a localized campaign and consumer research can be challenging for international brands that do not speak the language. Therefore, brands can work with local marketing and advertising agencies to minimize these challenges. Starting from digital marketing, creative productions, influencer marketing, to exhibitions and website design.
We hope this article can help you for your next marketing campaign in Korea. Be sure to also check more recommendations such as 10 Influencer Marketing Agencies in Korea You Should Know and Top Advertising Agencies in South Korea by Clutch.